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Showing posts from October 23, 2016

Review: Rocky II

After taking the champ to the limit, Rocky Balboa (Sly Stallone) decides to hang up the gloves, marry Adrian (Talia Shire) and live the quiet life. However, with bills to pay and a baby on the way, Rocky struggles to find suitable post-boxing work and is also suffering from failing eyesight in one of his eyes. Meanwhile, World Heavyweight Champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) has decided he’d like a rematch after all, despite what he said at the end of the previous film. His ego has been bruised, and it nags at him. He publicly goads Rocky in the media to face him one more time to prove it wasn’t just a fluke that he ‘The Italian Stallion’ was able to push the champ to the limit. Burgess Meredith, Burt Young, Joe Spinell, and Tony Burton all reprise their roles as trainer Mickey, deadbeat brother-in-law Paulie, loan shark Gazzo, and Apollo’s trainer Duke, respectively. Frank McRae plays Rocky’s boss at the meat factory, and John Pleshette plays an impatient commercial director.

Sylvester…

Review: Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power

As the title suggests, this film follows a young Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez) and his rise to power from about the 1960s. His crew is unorthodox, especially for the time; You see, Carlito is Puerto-Rican, dapper Earl (Mario Van Peebles) is Black, and Rocco (Michael Kelly) is an Eye-Talian. Luis Guzman is hilarious as an over-the-top hitman who comes into the middle of things to steal a few scenes, Tarantino-style. Sean Combs plays a powerful gangster who is fine with you so long as you don’t step on his turf, ‘yo! Burt Young plays a mob Patriarch for about the zillionth time, but is somewhat subdued here, thankfully (He’s a fine actor so long as he’s reined in by a strong director).

Fans of the original will hate this cheaper 2005 B-movie prequel to the Brian De Palma fave, but I expected a cheesy yet watchable B-movie and I got it. I’m OK with that. Umm, with Mario Van Peebles, Burt Young and Piddly Widdly Ding Dong in the cast, what were you expecting? An Altman film?

Hernandez …

Review: Broadway Danny Rose

Woody Allen plays the titular agent of a variety of showbiz acts of rather minor talent. His better acts tend to leave him the moment they hit the big-time. At the present time, his biggest act is probably veteran lounge singer Lou Canova (played by real-life singer and musician Nick Apollo Forte, in his only movie acting gig), but his best days are long behind him. Nonetheless, Danny stays loyal to Lou, even agreeing to help him hide his extra marital affair with Tina (Mia Farrow) from his wife. The problem for Danny is that Tina appears to be popular with not just Lou, but with anotherguy who has mob connections. And those mob connections don’t much like Danny getting in the way of what they see as true love. Legendary comedians Sandy Baron (TV’s Jack Klompus on “Seinfeld”), Milton Berle, and TV host Joe Franklin play themselves.

I’m not really a Woody Allen fan, but funny is funny, and this 1984 effort from the writer-director-star is often funny. It’s also short enough not to over…

Review: Youngblood

American Rob Lowe, as the title character, aspires to a life beyond the family farm and on the ice, leaves his family behind to go to Canada (eh?) and try out for a pro hockey team. Hopefully, he’ll do better than his one-eyed older brother Jim Youngs (Older/Youngs? Huh?), who crashed and burned a while back. He does indeed earn a spot on coach Ed Lauter’s team, earning him the ire of a bully whose spot he moves in on. Gee, do ‘ya think the bully will end up on an opposing team to clash with our hero in the finale? Patrick Swayze is the experienced player who takes the rookie under his wing, but not before an amusing hazing ritual involving the horny middle-aged lady (Fionnula Flanagan) who runs the team’s housing. Cynthia Gibb plays the coach’s daughter, and you just know our hero Youngblood is gonna tap that arse before long. Eric Nesterenko plays Lowe’s dad, and in real-life was a former pro in the NHL, who played mostly for the Chicago Blackhawks. Keanu Reeves turns up in an early…

Review: Whisper

Ne’er-do-well Josh Holloway (TV’s “Lost”) and fiancé Sarah Wayne Callies (TV’s “Prison Break” and “The Walking Dead”) dream of putting a shady past behind them, buying a rundown diner and living happily ever after. But when their dreams look like never happening, Holloway rather stupidly falls in with unscrupulous crony Michael Rooker’s scheme to kidnap a rich kid for a healthy ransom, with Callies tagging along ‘coz...well, motherly instincts and all that might come in handy. Unfortunately this kid ain’t one to be fucked with, he’s a full-on demonic little shit who proceeds to manipulate the minds of his would-be kidnappers (including Joel Edgerton), picking them off one-by-one. Dulé Hill plays a standard issue cop on the trail.

2007 Stewart Hendler flick (shot in 2005) starts out like “Ransom” but featuring Holloway’s “Lost” character instead of Donnie Wahlberg and our own Edgerton instead of Liev Schreiber, then it turns into a mixture of “The Omen” (cue the demonic child, and the …

Review: Eagle Eye

Defiantly underachieving family ‘black sheep’ Shia LaBeouf (briefly back home for his Air Force officer brother’s funeral) and single mum Michelle Monaghan (whose band geek son is playing for the President in Washington) receive mysterious phone calls from an unseen entity (with the voice of an uncredited Oscar-nominated fire crotch), ordering them to do all manner of crazy, dangerous, and criminal things or else LaBeouf’s and Monaghan’s kid’s lives will be extinguished. This mysterious caller seems to be in possession of just about every form of surveillance technology possible (not to mention screwing with traffic lights and such), so ratting them out to the cops is probably not an option. Billy Bob Thornton plays a glib federal agent who arrests LaBeouf when he fails to heed the caller’s warning to leave his apartment, which has been conveniently filled with terrorist porn. Obviously, Thornton is reluctant to believe the film’s...er, I mean the kid’s wild story. But that’s OK, the …

Review: Everest

A drama centring around a 1996 expedition to climb Mt. Everest, led by Kiwi and expectant father Rob (Aussie actor Jason Clarke). Those on the climb include rich Texan Beck (Josh Brolin), author Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), Japanese climber Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) hoping to climb the last of the seven summits, and meek postman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who failed on a previous attempt and is absolutely determined to make it this time. Also hanging around is super-chill American Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is leading a rival expedition. Emily Watson plays the maternal base camp co-coordinator alongside Elizabeth Debicki, whilst Sam Worthington plays another Kiwi climbing expert on the ground, and New Zealand-born Martin Henderson is one of the mountaineering guides on the expedition. Keira Knightley and Robin Wright play the respective spouses of Rob and Beck.

Look, not every movie needs to reinvent the wheel. What’s wrong with an irresistible story well-told? This 2015 fil…

Review: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

A decade after the events of “The Phantom Menace”, the now Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) must deal with an assassination attempt on her, as well as political unrest involving a separatist movement. Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are assigned by the now Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to protect the former Queen of Naboo once more. Anakin travels back to his home with Padme and the intense young man professes a romantic interest in her (behaviour frowned upon for a Jedi), whilst also attempting to locate his mother (Pernilla August). Meanwhile, Obi-Wan investigates the assassination plot which leads to an off-the-grid planet, and a rogue Jedi who has been secretly amassing a clone army. Temuera Morrison and Daniel Logan play bounty hunter Jango Fett and his scowly son Boba Fett, Christopher Lee plays Jedi master Count Dooku, whilst Aussies Jack Thompson and Joel Edgerton play Cliegg Lars and Owen Lars.

Review: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

The story of the title redneck NASCAR driver (Will Ferrell), whose dead-beat father (Gary Cole, milking his recurring cameo for all it’s worth) instilled in him the truly profound motto ‘If you’re not first, you’re last!’ John C. Reilly (who of course was in “Days of Thunder”, a film that is referenced if not outright mocked) is the lunkhead best buddy and somewhat overshadowed team-mate (Ricky Bobby probably can’t spell ‘team’ anyway, as there’s no ‘I’ in it), Leslie Bibb is the shrill wife (did I mention their kids are named Walker and Texas Ranger? Well, there you go), Amy Adams (cute but thoroughly wasted) is the faithful nerdy assistant, and Jane Lynch plays the Ricky Bobby’s trashy mother. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen turns up as nefarious, gay, French rival Jean Girard.

Grossly over-extended, fitfully amusing 2006 Adam McKay vehicle (heh, heh- get it?) for the certainly talented Ferrell, who tries hard, in vain, to make it all funny. Aside from an hilarious discussion concerning …